I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2014 – The Lowdown

March is finally upon us. This means a few things: Spring is coming (for the northern hemisphere if this polar vortex ever releases us from its vice), a new slew of deadlines will blow right by (have you seen how many journals have deadlines for March 15th?), and my blog is about to explode with doodles and poetry.

For my doodleku veterans, I know this is old hat, but it never hurts to have a little review.

Doodleku? Whazzat?

In short: The combination of a doodle and a short poem.

In length: Some may consider it a sub-genre of haiga; however, there’s a tad more wiggle room for overlap in image and poem content than traditionally acceptable in haiga. The form is meant to be exceptionally playful, and may include haiku, tanka, senryu, kyoka, gogyoka, small stones, or really any short poem (10 lines or less). I’ll even open it up for some short poetic prose (say, 50 words or less).

Examples of doodleku can be found by clicking the tag “doodleku,” or browsing I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2012, I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2013, and the e-collection Things with Wings.

Okay, that’s cool. So what’s so special about March for doodleku?

It sort of fell into place due to the surrounding months: January for a couple hundred folks is the Mindful Writing Challenge, February is National Haiku Writing Month, and April is National Poetry Writing Month. March was just kind of sitting there; it looked like it needed some love. It was also worked well for me at the time.

When, in 2012, I had asked my followers if they would be interested in a month where I posted doodles and they wrote poems. Everyone more or less shouted, “Yes!” Stuff happened in March, which I called “I Doodle, You ‘Ku,” and now it’s back for its third year by popular demand.

Nifty! I’m game; what do I do now?

Just show up! I’ll post a doodle every day on the blog, and everyone is invited to write a poem in the comments to accompany it. Post as many poems as you like. As a note, it really helps if you set the comments so that there’s an email address or blog that I can find later if I need to contact you (see below).

Don’t worry about being “right” or “wrong.” Just jump in. Write what comes to mind. I like to think we’re a pretty friendly lot.

As a side note, you’ll be able to find all the days linked here. So if you miss a day, or want to go back and write more/edit, or read what others wrote, you can get to a specific day quickly.

What about when March is done? Is that it?

Not quite. At some point in the future, I’ll select my favorite poems from each day and put them together (with the doodles) in a free PDF collection. Since life has happened, I haven’t finished my projects from last year, so something for this year is probably a ways down the road. Nevertheless the idea is that at some point, you may get an email from me asking permission to use your poems (which is why it’s really important I have some way of contacting you).

The first year’s collection was Things with Wings (linked above). Other collaborative PDF collections can also be found under “Projects.”

A few final things to consider:

• Some journals may consider the works posted in comments as “published.”

• You, as the author, retain the rights to your work before and after it appears on my blog/in the eventual collection.

• I know many participants like to post the poems they write daily on their own blogs, but please do not post the doodles on your own site. That being said, feel free to link back to each daily prompt.

• Doodleku on!

I Doodle, You ‘Ku 2014 – The Lowdown

Your Safe Word Is Albatross

Tomorrow is Practical Criticism Midwest conference at Ball State University… which means grad students will be presenting and engaging in research, theory, and intellectual pursuits. It also means in the evening they will be battling to the death last word in this year’s doggerel competition. I would like to encourage everyone to do their absolute worst. Anything less will be considered utter failure.

Below is my winning (losing?) poem from last year.

Winner, winner, chicken dinner.


“Your Safe Word Is Albatross”

Your safe word is Albatross.
If at any point you feel uncomfortable
during this poem, simply shout out
and the ride will come to a screeching halt.

If there are any children, or weak of heart
in the crowd, please remove them now.
Because this poem is rated L
for love, lust, and ludicriousy. Continue reading “Your Safe Word Is Albatross”

Your Safe Word Is Albatross


dreams chasing me
into the daylight

The first star appears in the band of light between dusk and night. Tiny snowdrifts along the ditch shift and sidewind over the ice-packed road.

I sleep late
into the afternoon

The brighter the thumbnail crescent of the moon gets, the clearer the crisp darkness of the rest becomes.

still unable to find
what they want of me